Nigel Hess: "tunes are important"

Nigel Hess has told Classic FM Magazine “there’s nothing like a good tune” and says he was “delighted” when Classic FM commissioned him to create Silent Nights, a whole album of “timeless tunes”.

The composer, best known for his scores for Ladies in Lavender and Ballykissangel, has made arrangements of popular carols for Classic FM’s Christmas album. Hess says carols “communicate effortlessly” and says this is something he tries to achieve “every time I put pencil to paper”.

Nigel Hess defends ‘tunes’, saying that “traditional harmony, an accessible musical language to which every listener could respond… does not mean any kind of compromise in the music’s integrity”. Hess also says that composing tonal music is hard: “there are only twelve notes to choose from and the task is to put them in a different order to anyone else”.

Furthering his case for musical communication through good tunes, Hess talks of his great-aunt, Dame Myra Hess, whose lunchtime concerts at London's National Gallery during the Blitz allowed people to "escape the horrors around them and be transported to a safer, more compassionate world".

Listen to our interview with Nigel Hess now